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Old 06-07-2010, 06:02   #16
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3,2,1....in that order.

The alternative backstay is a simple and elegant solution which works every bit as well as an insulated backstay, doesn't look bad at all, and doesn't add "more crap aloft to snag, get blown down, create windage, look ugly, etc., ."

I think you misunderstood what it is, and where it runs. An alternate backstay is simply a length of insulated s/s lifeline...23' or longer...which has small loops fashioned in each end, using Nicopress sleeves. It is hoisted with a spare halyard, if you have one, or a dedicated hoist if you don't. Just tie a bowline thru the loop and hoist away.

The lower end has a short length of 3/8 Dacron...2' or so...and is tied off to the forward end of the pushpit. Or other convenient attachment point.

GTO-15 insulated feedline is led from the tuner located belowdecks as close to the base of the alternate antenna as you can conveniently locate it, up thru a waterproof insulator on the deck to the lower end of the alternate backstay. It is attached by any of several secure means. I like s/s wire clamps, with waterproof/insulated ring terminal on the end of the GTO-15 to connect to one of the studs on the wire clamp, using another nut. Clean, secure, easy to inspect/renew over the years.

The Dacron or poly line at the top and bottom of the s/s wire acts as a pretty good insulator. You don't really need anything else, but you can put insulators in if you want.

This setup is fully seagoing, and will withstand anything the elements can throw at it. And, of course, it works just as well as an insulated backstay.

You do need a good RF ground, just as with any other antenna fitted to the tuner.

Bill
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:23   #17
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I used a vertical antenna through a tuner on my Endeavour. I used a messenger line attached to the first spreader and hoisted the #10 insulated wire to within a few inches of the spreader. The ground end of the tuner went to ships ground. I had no problems loading nor getting good reports with that setup.

Like many, I'm very leery of cutting the backstay, even though historical data seems to support the durablilty of the idea. Costs was a big consideration. The insulators cost many times the cost of 25' of #10 wire.
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:37   #18
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Many performance boats use a synthetic backstay. A simple piece of copper wire is run inside a sheath next to the synthetic (heat shrink or something) for most of the length. There's no particular reason a backstay needs to be steel.
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Old 06-07-2010, 15:25   #19
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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
3,2,1....in that order.

The alternative backstay is a simple and elegant solution which works every bit as well as an insulated backstay, doesn't look bad at all, and doesn't add "more crap aloft to snag, get blown down, create windage, look ugly, etc., ."

I think you misunderstood what it is, and where it runs. An alternate backstay is simply a length of insulated s/s lifeline...23' or longer...which has small loops fashioned in each end, using Nicopress sleeves. It is hoisted with a spare halyard, if you have one, or a dedicated hoist if you don't. Just tie a bowline thru the loop and hoist away.

The lower end has a short length of 3/8 Dacron...2' or so...and is tied off to the forward end of the pushpit. Or other convenient attachment point.

GTO-15 insulated feedline is led from the tuner located belowdecks as close to the base of the alternate antenna as you can conveniently locate it, up thru a waterproof insulator on the deck to the lower end of the alternate backstay. It is attached by any of several secure means. I like s/s wire clamps, with waterproof/insulated ring terminal on the end of the GTO-15 to connect to one of the studs on the wire clamp, using another nut. Clean, secure, easy to inspect/renew over the years.

The Dacron or poly line at the top and bottom of the s/s wire acts as a pretty good insulator. You don't really need anything else, but you can put insulators in if you want.

This setup is fully seagoing, and will withstand anything the elements can throw at it. And, of course, it works just as well as an insulated backstay.

You do need a good RF ground, just as with any other antenna fitted to the tuner.

Bill
Thanks very much for that.

Do you leave it up permanently, or do you hoist it only when you are using it?

I wouldn't want to tie up a halyard with that, so maybe I would rig some kind of eye near the masthead for the upper end of it, with some kind of block below.

Hmm. Sounds like worth a try.
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Old 06-07-2010, 15:30   #20
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Thanks very much for that.

Do you leave it up permanently, or do you hoist it only when you are using it?

I wouldn't want to tie up a halyard with that, so maybe I would rig some kind of eye near the masthead for the upper end of it, with some kind of block below.

Hmm. Sounds like worth a try.
Yes, you leave it up all the time. Only take it down if you think it needs some maintenance.

Put an eye on the mast near the truck, with a small block. Run light Dacron/Poly line thru the block and tie it off below. Check to be sure you have adequate clearance for the roach of the mainsail.

That's it.

Good luck,

Bill
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Old 06-07-2010, 16:09   #21
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i can only tell you what works for us - i did not want to cut my back stay and found the GAM Electronics antenna -- now people will tell you they do not work - i beg to differ and it works great for us - we have been using it for 3 years now and people will tell you i boom out and can hear well - we were at one point a relay for one of the nets while in the bahamas this past winter
GAM gets bad reviews because as even an extemely knowledgable electronics expert put it - not sure why it works as well as it does but you boom - he is a degreed electronics person and was aboard and look at my rig -
the other reason I believe GAM gets a bad rap is it is new and not standard and it appears in the ssb world old ways of doing things seems to prevail
take a look at the GAM ELECTRONICS antenna -
it really works for us
just our opinion

chuck patty and svsoulmates
on the hook deltaville va for maintenance and upgrades
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Old 06-07-2010, 23:12   #22
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The name of the strong rope which can be used as a backstay too is "Dynema". It is quite expensive compared to ordinary ropes, but it can be a nice solution too;

But again if you not plan to play with antenna, lenghts etc the simplest way to get your SSB radio PERMANENTLY working is by isolating backstay - the most expensive and the most durable thing to do! You then install a BALUN and TUNER at the low end and run cable to the radio. Consider good grounding too as antenna w/o grounding will not work (SSB paint or similar).

I do not suggest you to only connect the cable directly on the backstay as it is a great chance it will not work as it should (then the antenna can be the whole mast and it might be grounded near the keel.......then you get a "dummy load".

I also do not recommend you to just hoist the wire parallel to the existing stell -non insulated backstay as there will be conductive coupling occuring and again you might loose more than you gained.

So If you think on a long run and want to just forget about antenna, wires, how it works etc, think about isolating backstay (least additional hardwatre on a boat for a casual user though quite costy) or install the antenna like this (Rope Antennas, Single Side Band antennas for Sail boats, powerboats, SSB antennas). Do not know how it works but suppose does it job.


All the best,
Ted Mezek, s51ta
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:26   #23
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I have used an uninsulated backstay on 2 boats wih a SSB radio. The top is connected to the AL mast but with AL oxidation it is DC open. Probably connected RF wise. The bottom is not grounded or bonded. I place the antenna tuner close to the bottom of the backstay inside the boat. I connect the tuner to the backstay on the inside of the boat too using the backstay attachment bolts. For the ground: On one boat I ran as wide as possible copper sheeting to the keel, engine and fuel tank. Avoid direct CU-AL joints. This worked well after adding a few ferrites to prevent RF interference to PC and other connections. On the second boat I created a 20 square foot ground plane against the hull in the aft area. (9 nF capacitance to the sea water) I used 10" CU sheeting tack soldered every few feet. Boat stuff keeps this pressed against the hull. This works well with little RF inteference into other things. Of course these are not simple vertical monopole antenna. They work well anyway.
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Old 23-12-2010, 13:52   #24
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I realize this thread is a little stale, but I just wanted to say that I found it very helpful.

In particular, I liked Viking Sailor's configuration. I'm replacing all my shrouds this winter and was considering an insulated backstay, but wasn't happy about cutting my brand new backstay. Not going the insulated backstay route, when it isn't needed anyway, will save me a lot of money.

I'm still a relatively new ham, just having passing my amateur extra exam this summer, but appreciate the simplicity of not cutting anything and being stuck with a particular configuration for years to come.
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Old 24-12-2010, 09:54   #25
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nv51 -- no need to cut your backstay -- we are full time cruisers and did not cut our backstay - we got a gam electronics antenna and it works GREAT -- we can hear and talk from short - in and around the bahamas to long distances - got our winlink download from anchorage ak one day while in the bahamas -
some people po po them but we find it works great as does those that we talk to and have seen our system

just what works for a couple of full time cruisers - who use their system everyday
chuck patty and svsoulmates
on a mooring miami - headed to central america after the 1st
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